Time Travels – A Cheat’s Way Of Sneaking In The Unpopular Eras
Everyone keeps saying the historical romance market is dead. Yet despite the industry’s attempts to bury it, readers keep insisting it’s still alive by snapping up copies of any title a brave and solo publisher dares to put on the market, thereby showing the ol’ genre still has some life in ‘er yet. But...
Mostly those titles are in a select few “safe” historical eras and locations. If you’re a fan of historical romance at all, you can probably rattle off those eras without trying too hard:
· Medieval Britain – preferably the Plantagenets, even better if it’s during Richard’s reign.
· Regency novels. (Gag me. I am not a Regency fan at all. Personal taste, I know, but the mannered style of these novels I just don’t get.)
· Victorian Britain, especially late Victorian, especially London during the Season.
· Western America during the late 1800’s.
Anything outside these few safe and traditional eras and locations is considered a risky, atypical historical romance.
Until recently, many publishers may have shied from publishing the novel no matter how well it was written, based purely on that fact alone. Even if you could find a publisher who will buy your book, many readers won’t buy the book because they aren’t comfortable with the era or the location. If they can’t visualize it in their heads, they won’t read it. While there are many readers who love reading about new and exotic places, there are many more readers who want the comfort of the familiar and the known. It’s little benefit to know that readers are raving about your romance set in 1923 Paraguay, when those readers number in the single digits, and your royalty cheque was held over until next semester because it didn’t make the minimum amount to be generated this period.
The marketplace is shifting a little bit, though. Carina Press, the electronic publishing arm of Harlequin Silhouette, stated at the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio in late April 2010 that they are currently buying historical romances for their launch in June, 2010, and the majority of those historicals are not in the “safe” eras.
However, with Carina Press being one of the few exceptions to the safe rule, authors like me who just love playing around in the historical danger zones have found the odd safety valve here and there, and in Kiss Across Time I used one: Time travel. Instead of setting an entire novel in one era, I had my characters travel through time, and dropping into four different times in the space of a single story, never spending long enough in any one period to alienate a reader, but long enough for me to muck about with the history, language and politics of the day before hauling my characters back to the present.
Oh, I had fun!
Call it the cheat’s way of writing historical novels, when you can’t write historical novels anymore, and have to get your fix. The one good thing about paranormals and magic: It can solve all sorts of things if you apply it creatively.
What’s your favourite historical era? Read any good books set in it lately? Wish you had?
Kiss Across Time
Taylor Yates just got fired from her university for insisting that the 5th Century British poet and playwright, Inigo Domhnall, existed. When she hears the poet’s lyrics in a death metal song, she engineers a meeting with the dark-eyed, dark-haired lead singer, Brody Gallagher. An unintended kiss sends them spinning back to the poet’s time, when Saxons were pillaging King Arthur’s Britain, and a warrior expects a proper farewell from his woman before he sets off for war.
Brody’s all for kissing her again. More, he’d like her to try kissing his friend and lover, Veris, just to see what will happen. His blond, tall, blue-eyed Saxon friend Veris.
Taylor laughed. “Why on earth would it?” Then something in Brody’s expression registered on her. “Oh…he’s your lover, isn’t he?”
Brody lifted a brow.
“A very long-term lover,” Taylor concluded with growing wonder. She tilted her head to study him. “What is his name?”
“Most people call me Veris, because they can’t pronounce my real name.”
She whirled around to face the voice.
He was sitting on the arm of the chair where the suit jacket had been a few moments before. Blond hair, blue eyes, six foot two inches of self-assured, very broad-shouldered male.
“You!” She struggled for the name. “Dr. Gerhardsson. You consulted with me last week, about the Domhnall plays.”
“Jesus, you son of a bitch,” Brody said behind her. “You went and did it after all.”
Veris smiled. “I did.”
Brody brushed past Taylor and threw himself into the lounge chair. He looked at Taylor. “You’re a history professor?”
“I nearly was,” she said flatly.
“You don’t look like one,” Brody commented.
“Neither does he,” she said, pointing at Veris. He was wearing leather pants and a sleeveless white cotton overshirt that made the most of the tanned, rounded caps of his shoulders and the bunches of muscles of his arms. Veris crossed his arms over his chest, which just seemed to multiply the amount of tanned muscle on display. His blue eyes twinkled.
Brody seemed more than mildly pissed about Veris’ consultation, which had been utterly professional in nature. Dr. V. Gerhardsson had not indicated by so much as an inch that he even recognized that Taylor was a woman.
Even so, Taylor had been left feeling edgy and weak-kneed after the evening consultation and had fallen into bed and indulged in a rare session of masturbation that featured Gerhardsson and his blue eyes and broad shoulders and various parts of his magnificent anatomy, over and over again.
Brody glared at Veris now. “I can see now why you came home in such a muck-sweat that night…the seventeenth, right?”
Taylor jumped. That was the night.
Veris just shrugged a little. No pride lost there. “I have no objections to kissing the lady now, if that’s what you want.” He smiled a little but his eyes were dancing with merriment.
Brody glared for a moment longer, then gave up. Taylor knew he had tabled the argument for later. He sat forward on the seat and spoke to Veris. “I told you what happened during the concert. I want to see if it happens to you when you kiss Taylor, because of our bond. If it does, then we’re going to have to tell Taylor.”
Veris glanced at Taylor. “And that won’t have tipped her off at all,” he said.
“Like consulting her about the Domhnall plays won’t have?” Brody shot back.
Veris grimaced. “I see your point.” He got to his feet and walked toward her and Taylor knew that the equivalent of a nuclear explosion would have to go off before she would move from the spot.
Veris stopped in front of her. “May I?” he asked. He seemed to tower over her five-foot-six frame, even with her spiked boots.
She thought her knees would give out. “Yes,” she said, her voice hoarse.
He slid his hand around her waist and the other under her hair. This close, his blue eyes were mesmerizing and she could feel her heart thundering. It hurt as it slammed against her chest. She gripped Veris’ shirt almost convulsively, suddenly afraid.
“It’s all right,” he whispered, his lips brushing hers, his breath fanning her. “I have you.”
He kissed her.
His lips were surprisingly soft. But just for a moment. Then his mouth hardened against hers and his tongue thrust inside, , sweeping against her tongue and teeth, exploring.
Taylor moaned. She couldn’t help it. This was better than she had imagined in her lonely bed last week. She spread her fingers over the cotton shirt to feel the muscles beneath, as she had longed to do all through the meeting. But instead of cotton, she felt leather.
She opened her eyes. The room was round and there was a hole in the middle of the roof. That was for venting smoke from the fire, she knew. Veris lifted his lips from hers, trailed them to her ear and thrust his tongue inside. Not Veris. Vidar. She groaned, her whole body blossoming with arousal. Vidar was home for such a short while. But they were preparing for all-out war. Even now the longboats were being prepared for the journey over the sea to Britain.
She thrust her hands into his hair, hiding her fear. “Kiss me again, my husband,” she demanded, fumbling with the buckles on the leather chest plate he wore.
“There’s no time.” He brushed her hair from her temple and stroked her neck. His hand fell to her breast and stroked it through the material of her dress.
“There will be enough,” she told him, sliding the second buckle undone, as the sweet pleasure from his hand transmitted to her cl§toris and made her body begin to tremble and throb with desire. She was moist and ready for him.
She slid the third buckle apart and he tossed the breastplate over his head and onto the floor with an impatient shrug. He pushed her up against the wall, his blue eyes snapping fire. “You are ever an inspiration, Tyra,” he growled. He grabbed the scooped front of her white dress and tugged. The fabric tore down to her knees and he pushed on it with his boot to get rid of it, pulling the sleeves off her arms as he did so.
Tyra stood naked before him, her breasts rising and falling rapidly, telling him of her excitement.
Vidar removed his shirt and tossed it onto the breastplate. As he turned away, she saw a long, writhing scar along his back, high up under the shoulder blade. Then he turned back and unfastened his trews, revealing his pulsing c§ck. He stroked it as he approached her, letting her see the tip of it in his hand. She began to tremble with anticipation.
“Hurry,” she whispered.
He shook his head. “No.” His voice was a rumble. He pressed up against her. “Not now.” His eyes danced. “Ooooh, no.” He dropped his head and licked her collarbone, sliding his tongue along the depression to the nape of her neck, making her catch her breath.
Then he slid it down to her breast and sucked the tip into his mouth and began to play with it.
Tyra cried out, her hands slapping against the wall, as the pleasurable sensations bombarded her. She was melting into a puddle of joy. Dimly, she felt Vidar’s hands around her waist, holding her up, as his mouth switched to her other breast and continued the medley. She was gasping and trembling and aching to have him inside her. She reached for his head, twining her fingers in his hair, trying to coax him to rise, to press against her.
It was like trying to move a rock. And she was hazy and weak from the pleasure he was giving her, anyway.
“Vidar…f§ck me,” she said hoarsely. It was the wrong word, she knew that. But it was the only word she could think of right now. It would have to do.
He straightened and his hands around her waist lifted her like she was as light as his spear. She wrapped her legs around his waist, eager for his possession. Looking deep into her eyes, he thrust his long c§ck inside her with one deep, slow thrust. He groaned as he came to a halt, his swollen balls resting against her ass. “My woman,” he growled.
“Yes,” she said, as he thrust inside her. It felt so good, she was melting around him. She clutched at his shoulders. “Harder,” she begged. “Faster.”
He gripped her hips and thrust harder and faster, his pelvis kissing her cl§t, making her feel faint and swoony. Her climax was building, rushing at her. Her breath caught in her chest as the first convulsions of her climax washed over her. Vidar was slamming into her, driving her pleasure with his heated shaft.
Then she felt him spasm and his seed spill into her even as she shuddered against him. It touched off another powerful climax, one so deep and wrenching that she let her head fall back as she cried out, her eyes closing in ecstasy.
“Tyra. Taylor.” Vidar’s voice. Breathless. Close by her ear.
She snapped her eyes open at the use of her name. Her real name.
The room. The square room. Veris’ face was a bare inch or so from hers. He watched her warily. “Do you know where you are?”
“San Bernadino,” she said. “And you’re Veris again.”
He licked his lips. “And you’re Taylor again.”
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